You’d be forgiven for thinking the KTM 450 SMR couldn’t possibly get any
better. But we’ll let that slide – just as you would be doing when you
throw a leg over the latest iteration of pure READY TO RACE perfection.
With a frame that is specifically engineered for longitudinal rigidity,
stability, and exceptional rider feedback and an engine that blows away
the competition with unrelenting power delivery – not to mention the
electronic wizardry to rival sports bikes – The KTM 450 SMR is a
purpose-built racer with one simple goal – winning championships.
The 2023 KTM 450 SMR boasts one of the most manic 4-stroke powerplants in the paddock, with its SOHC engine proving to be the perfect example of advanced engineering. For 2023, the engine is tilted 2° backward with a lower front sprocket position, which together with the benefits of mass centralization and reduced engine weight, the anti-squat behavior of the chassis is second to none. With a peak power output of over 63 HP and an overall engine weight of only 26.8 kg, you’ll leave the competition with more than a little mud on the face.
A completely redesigned SOHC cylinder head makes for a more compact and lightweight package, using a shorter profile with the camshaft located closer to the center of gravity. Lightweight valves are actuated via a DLC coated rocker arm with optimized timing, specifically designed to deliver precise levels of torque and throttle response. The diameter of the inlet valves is 40 mm, while on the exhaust it is 33 mm. Redesigned intake ports allow higher flow coefficients, resulting in a more efficient and powerful engine, with a new valve cover reducing the number of mounting screws, and a single oil spray jet guarantees efficient cooling while keeping the weight low.
Designed with weight reduction and performance in mind, the crankshaft in the KTM 450 SMR engine improves throttle response and contributes to the lightweight feel of the motorcycle. The perfect balance of rotating masses is achieved by balancing the weights of the crankshaft flywheel, and the new rotor, and thanks to the innovative counter balancer shaft, engine vibration is kept to an absolute minimum.
CRANKCASES AND ENGINE COVERS
The KTM 450 SMR engine is designed with mass centralization and weight reduction as the main criteria. As a result, the crankcases have been designed to house the internal components of the engine in the perfect position to achieve an ideal center of gravity, while adding the least possible weight. The cases are manufactured using a high-pressure die-cast production process, resulting in thinner but more reliable wall thickness. And just to add a little extra – the KTM brand logo gives the black powder-coated engine cover the ultimate READY TO RACE look.
The KTM 450 SMR features a SUTER slipper clutch which prevents rear wheel instability and hopping when braking hard into the apex of a turn, for maximum control and perfect Supermoto-style drifting. The Brembo hydraulic system guarantees perfect clutch modulation.
The redesigned lightweight 5-speed transmission is produced by Pankl Racing Systems ensuring the highest level of durability and reliability. The redesign focused on a weight-optimized shift shaft, reducing the operating force of gear changes, best suited to the revised transmission ratio (29:72). The gear shift lever also features an anti-dirt build-up design that keeps the lever tip in its original position – even in the toughest conditions.
ENGINE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Developed by Keihin, the EMS is specifically designed to be small, light, and lightning-fast at processing data. It integrates the launch control for perfect starts, selectable engine maps via the map select switch on the handlebar, traction control as well as the Quickshifter function. It is also combined with the gear position sensor, which optimizes power delivery for each gear, while a roll-over sensor (ROS) kills the engine in case of extreme crashes, adding another level of safety to the KTM 450 SMR. The hourmeter now also features an integrated EFI status LED and fuel level indicator, so you know when it’s time to pull into the pits for a refuel.
CYLINDER AND PISTON
The lightweight aluminum cylinder features a 95 mm bore and 63.40 mm stroke, housing a CP bridged-box-type piston weighing a meager 327 g. The piston features anodized annular grooves, adding durability and longer service intervals, with the compression ratio increased to 13.1:1 for added peak performance with a maximum output of over 63 hp.
The multifunctional side-mounted balancer shaft masterfully balances all the oscillating forces, while also driving the water pump. It effectively keeps engine vibrations to a minimum, resulting in the smoothest ride, even at the highest engine speeds.
A combined start/stop switch on the right side of the handlebar allows for an easy and intuitive function – not that you’ll ever want to turn your KTM 450 SMR off.
The KTM 450 SMR exhaust system is expertly designed to deliver class-leading performance at the lowest possible weight. Featuring a flow-designed resonance chamber integrated into the 2-piece header, the header remains as compact as possible with the joining position allowing it to be removed without having to take out the shock absorber. Further innovation allows for a short, lightweight aluminum silencer without increasing noise levels.
The KTM 450 SMR radiators are expertly crafted using high-strength aluminum and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to channel air through the radiators more efficiently. The cooling system is integrated into the frame allowing for improved cooling by channeling coolant through the frame while eliminating the need for additional external hoses, while a large center tube running through the frame reduces the pressure in the system allowing for a more consistent coolant flow. An internal thermostat for added reliability is fitted as standard.
No matter how twisty or technical the track is, you’ll stay in complete control thanks to an all-new frame design that has not only been engineered for longitudinal rigidity but also repositions rotating mass closer to the center of gravity. Precise frame wall thicknesses deliver superior flex characteristics and offers an unmatched rider feel. A new shock mounting also provides improved anti-squat behavior to better traction out of corners, while the footpeg mounting position has moved inwards for less risk of hooking up.
The 2-piece polyamide (60%) reinforced aluminum (40%) subframe provides outstanding handling and rider feedback. Constructed with the aid of finite element analysis, precise levels of rigidity are engineered into the subframe, delivering optimal flex dynamics, while remaining robust and reliable lap after lap.
The hollow, die-cast aluminum swingarm is designed to offer optimal stiffness and reliability – while keeping weight as low as possible and allowing for a wide range of rear wheel adjustments to either shorten the wheelbase on tight, twisty tracks, or a lengthen for greater high speed stability. Maintenance is also easily dealt with by means of chain adjustment markings, which are visible from above for easier access and measurement. A new 22mm rear axle is added to further optimize the flex characteristics of the new chassis.
The 2023 KTM 450 SMR is rock-solid at any speed thanks to a repositioned and forged steering head connection and CNC milled triple clamps. Made from high-grade aluminum, the triple clamp features optimally tuned steering stem stiffness, perfect alignment of the fork tubes, and precise geometry of the fork clamps to ensure responsive and smooth fork action – not to mention unwavering stability when charging over rhythms, swapping sides through the chicane, firing down the straightaway, and onto the podium.
The KTM 450 SMR model is fitted with a super-lightweight WP XACT fork with AER technology and features updated settings for Supermoto use. It is a 48 mm USD air-sprung fork with a capsulated air spring on the left side and a pressurized oil chamber for progressive and consistent damping on the right. In combination with the mid-valve damping system, the fork provides exceptional feedback and rider comfort. The setting is specifically made for Supermoto racing and can be easily adjusted via the single air pressure valve for the air spring, as well as through easy access click adjusters for compression and rebound damping. The air pump needed to adjust the fork’s air pressure is provided as standard.
An all-new shock absorber design results in a reduction of overall length and less weight compared to the previous generation. A new CFD optimized main piston improves comfort, while differently sized flow holes allow the shims to open more easily and reduce the overall stress of oil flow and pressure on the shims for an all-round smoother function, while low-friction SKF linkage seals provide advanced damping characteristics for unsurpassed traction and energy absorption. Adjustability is also now taken care of by a hand-adjustable dual compression control knob, that allows quick adjustment of high- and low-speed settings without tools. This, together with the newly designed rebound and preload adjusters, riders are able to adjust their shock settings without tools and without the help of a technician in the pits.
The KTM 450 SMR is fitted with ultra-lightweight and strong black ALPINA spoked wheels, 16.5” front rim and 17” rear rim respectively. They are complemented by Metzeler Racetec SM K1 Supermoto tires and are fitted as standard on the KTM 450 SMR, with a 125/75 R 16.5 taking care of business at the front and a 165/630 R17 on the rear.
The KTM 450 SMR has a whole lot of GO! Thankfully, it also comes standard with a whole lot of WHOA! Exceptional stopping power is guaranteed by high-performance Brembo brakes, featuring a 4-piston radially mounted caliper in combination with a radial master cylinder working together with a 310 mm disc at the front. A single-piston caliper and a 220mm disc are fitted to the rear.
The KTM 450 SMR is fitted with a 7,2-litre polythene fuel tank that incorporates a threaded fuel tank cap and an integrated fuel pump. The fuel pump features an external fuel line which is specifically positioned to make it less exposed and susceptible to damage while ensuring a steady, uninterrupted flow of fuel.
The KTM 450 SMR is equipped with a tapered handlebar made of high-strength aluminum by NEKEN. The proprietary KTM bend delivers optimal control and unintended rider impacts are absorbed by the newly designed KTM branded handlebar pad, which features the same design patterns as seen on the frame protectors and tank spoilers – now that’s a touch of class.
All-new, FEA-designed footpegs offer a bigger contact area for better control of the bike while standing on the pegs, but also make them less susceptible to hooking up when leaning or sliding down low. This was achieved by a new, narrower frame mounting design.
A flatter seat profile and high-grip orange seat cover provide exceptional rider movement and control, with a handy grip pocket under the seat, just above the air filter box, making lifting the bike off its paddock stand a lot easier.
The 2023 KTM 450 SMR features an improved rider triangle, providing improved knee contact – especially when standing on the pegs – with improved gripping surfaces all around. In terms of graphics, the 2023 KTM 450 SMR takes its cues from the early 1990s, featuring a little sliver of purple between the contrasting orange graphics.
HANDLEBAR MAP SELECT SWITCH
The 2023 KTM 450 SMR features a map select switch as standard, allowing the racer to switch between 2 engine maps. Map 1 provides a linear, predictable power delivery, while Map 2 gives it the full beans with crisp, explosive power output. Using the same switchgear, the rider can toggle between traction control, launch control, and the new Quickshifter functions.
The new Quickshifter function can be activated or deactivated via the new map select switch, allowing for clutchless upshifts, with the throttle fully opened. A sensor on the shift drum notices the force on the gear shift lever, sends the signal to the engine control unit and the ignition timing is interrupted. To prevent unintended shifts and false neutrals, the function is only active from 2nd to 5th gear.
When the tarmac suddenly becomes dirt track, you need to keep full forward momentum. Luckily, the KTM 450 SMR has superior traction control for that exact eventuality. Traction control is selected to an on or off position from the switch and functions by analyzing throttle input from the rider and the rate at which RPM increases in the engine. If the RPM increases too quickly, the EMS registers a loss of grip and reduces the amount of power to the rear wheel ensuring maximum traction.
Rocketing off the line and into the holeshot is made even easier with launch control. With the engine at idle, launch control is engaged by pressing the traction control and Quickshifter buttons simultaneously. This function limits the amount of power to the rear wheel for take-off, improving traction and preventing wheelspin under hard acceleration.
Along with the benefit of an easy electric starting system, a Li-Ion 2.0 Ah battery is fitted to the KTM 450 SMR. The Li-Ion battery weighs approximately 1 kg less than a conventional lead battery meaning the convenience of electric starting is delivered while keeping overall weight to an absolute minimum.